Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Recap of 2011


This week I took a look at the most-read posts of 2011. By “voting with your mouse” you help us identify the trends and developments that you think are most interesting and relevant to your work.

What does it say about us as a field that the most popular story of the year was It’s Not About the Cat Cams from the Philbrook Museum of Art? I’d like to think it stems from the serious attention we are giving to the power of social media and its ability to radically expand the number of people interested in our museums. I suspect it is because the video is so damn funny. (I want to see a sequel in which the cats—carefully escorted, of course—are set loose in the museum. Cat as art critic?)

Given the state of the economy, and the number of newly minted museum studies graduates looking for positions, it’s no surprise that Landing a Job in the Museum of the Future came in a close second after the cats. Another top ten post on that topic was The Workforce of the Future Starts Now. In 2012, we’ll continue to scan for any hints we can pass along regarding how museums will recruit, train and retain staff in coming decades.

Another theme that got a lot of attention from readers was the effect of the economic crisis on museums. The Future of Development: Crowdsourced Funding reviewed how museums are using social media and the web to finance projects via small donations, often from people previously unconnected to the museum. On the other hand, Museum Ethics in a Gilded Age explored the ethical dilemmas that may arise in a future in which museums are even more dependent on wealthy individuals.

Museums are using the internet to solicit input and expertise, as well as funds, from the public. Museums & Wikipedia and More Crowdsourced Scholarship: Citizen History present case studies of the costs and benefits of this approach, and how it can best be managed.

I am please that the Let’s Move! Museums & Gardens campaign, fighting childhood obesity, is getting so much attention. Read about the campaign in Let’s Help America Move! and sign up to be a Let’s Move! museum. Over 500 organizations have joined this effort—our ambition is to swell our ranks to 3000 in 2012.

Saving the Historic House bridged the themes of financial stability and fighting obesity, as Woodlawn shared how it has partnered with Michael Babin’s Neighborhood Restaurant Group to create Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food and Agriculture. I am a total fan of their work!

And readers were clearly intrigued by the Transformative Power of Innovation exemplified by Innovation Lab for Museums, launched in 2011 by AAM and EmcArts with funding from MetLife Foundation. Stand by for an announcement in early 2012 of which three museum projects were selected to participate in this first round of the lab. We look forward to sharing the lessons they learn from their experiments.

Best wishes for 2012 from the Center for the Future of Museums and all of the staff here at AAM. Let’s make it another step along the way to a bright future…

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